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First Person - Brad Lennea



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Pique : Are there milestones you want to reach along the way?

BL : Lots of them. This year is a World Championship year, and that only happens ever four years - every two years there's not an Olympics. They wanted me to commit to that and next year will be an off-year that will include a lot more intense training, and the following year is an Olympic year again.

Pique : What's your time commitment like. How often are you on the slopes or in the gym?

BL : I was out in the gym at the end of August training, our first camp was in Pitztal in October, so I was on snow in October, and we had more training in November, and another camp in December.

I'm pretty lucky that my coach (Leslie Clark) actually lives in Whistler, so I've been doing a lot of freeskiing with her recently. I get out there a lot - not every day, but most days.

I've also been training with the Whistler Mountain Ski Club whenever I get a chance, which has been awesome.

Pique : Is there a feeling that you're getting into this sport at the right time in history? I know all amateur athletes struggle to make ends meet, and disabled athletes in particular have a hard time - I know your expenses are higher - but does it feel like you guys are better off now than in the past?

BL : I'd say so. From what I understand our training is a lot more organized and a lot more intense, and there's a lot more of it. I know that when Phil Chew was racing, he really had to struggle to get people to help him out and just to get invited to different events.

The sport is much more organized now. I mean, we have a whole tour mapped out for us that includes Europe and North America, and our team has good sponsorship, so we get lots of clothes and stuff like that. We get our own ski sponsors, which help out of course.

Overall, I'd say the sport is a lot more organized and a lot more developed. And that's because of guys like Phil Chew fought so hard for everything.

Pique : Has public awareness grown as well, and does that help you out with sponsorship and fundraising?

BL : Absolutely. When I first started out and I would tell people I was sit-skiing, and they'd be like 'What? What's that all about?'